1 of 21 | People stop to watch FDNY firefighters put water on a building that is on fire in New York City on March 26, 2015. A powerful explosion in the East Village caused one building to collapse and ignited a large fire that engulfed a neighboring building on Thursday afternoon, leaving at least a dozen people injured, at least three of them critically. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, March 26 (UPI) -- Multiple people were injured -- four critically -- Thursday afternoon after a building collapsed in New York's East Village.
There was an explosion before the building fell around 3:20 p.m. at 7th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan.
The New York First Department was battling a fire at the scene.
FDNY chief spokesman Francis X. Gribbon told The New York Times it appeared as though the explosion was caused by gas.
"It was probably a gas thing, it looks like," he said. "But that's not confirmed."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN inspectors from the city's gas utility had been at the building about an hour before the explosion took place. While there, the inspectors found the gas work at the building was "unacceptable" and recommended changes.
FDNY spokesman James Long told the Times two buildings were "fully involved with fire." Some 250 firefighters responded to the blaze from about 50 units.
At least a dozen people were injured in the blast, four of them critically. A law enforcement official said it's possible people may have been trapped by the blaze.
A witness on the scene, Scott Westerfeld, tweeted that the collapse happened at 123 Second Ave., the location of Pommes Frites, a Belgian cafe featuring twice-fried potatoes.
The building was mixed use, with apartments located above the restaurant in the five-story building.
This is a developing story.